Follow-up care and the risk of recurrence


But one of the things that still bothers me, once they discharge you from the cancer hospital care there’s not a lot of support out there I find.

Interviewer: What kind of support do you feel you needed at that point when you were discharged?

When I finished my medication that I was on, I thought "Oh! Now what?" It’s quite a loss, a feeling of loss, when you all of a sudden stop this one medication which is probably going to increase your chance of survival by, not 100% that’s for sure, but it does increase it. But then you have no protection, you’re not getting any treatment, things like that. I found that that was quite hard for a while until I thought "Oh well, whatever that’s how it is."

Interviewer: But it just kind of stops and then there’s?

It just stops. Bang! I found that that was hard.

Interviewer: So there’s no follow-up with your physician after that?

I was fortunate that I had a really good physician. Because my breast cancer was never found through mammograms and ultrasounds, and that even the MRI* (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and things like that didn’t really show it, which I had forgot to mention that I had had an MRI.

But it was through my own breast exam that I found it and so she agreed to, for me, to have breast exams every 3 or 4 months and so that was good. It’s just, I sometimes would like to have someone to talk to a little bit about now, what now? At what point do you ask if you can have a bone scan or CT scan* (Computerized Axial Tomography Scan), and is this kind of stuff normal, or is it necessary, or is it more like a paranoia thing?

Interviewer: So that kind of checking in every once in a while...What’s your normal pattern now? Do you go back to your family physician when you want to?

Yeah I still go every 3 or 4 times during the year to have a mammogram and then I do go to the cancer hospital and have an ultrasound and a mammogram too, once per year. That’s it. There’s some people that I know, and I wish I was one of them, they are on a study and so they see a doctor every 3 months. They have blood tests and have different tests and things like that and I’d like to be one of them.

Interviewer: What would be different for you if you were one of them?

I think then you just have a little bit more reassurance that nothing is creeping up, getting too involved in your body I guess…

*MRI: Imaging test that creates a 3-dimensional picture of the body’s internal structures using magnetic force and radio frequencies.
*CT scan: Body scan that produces cross section images of the body’s internal structures.

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